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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 155225 Find in a Library
Title: Mid-Sized Department's Identification Response to Mass Disaster
Journal: Journal of Forensic Identification  Volume:45  Issue:3  Dated:(May/June 1995)  Pages:275-279
Author(s): H S Sloan
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes how a mid-sized police agency handled the identification of bodies in the largest airline disaster in the United States in 1993.
Abstract: On December 1, 1993, a Northwest Airlink flight crashed in Hibbing, Minn., killing all 18 individuals on board. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department Identification Bureau, assisted by two identification officers from the Duluth Police Department, was given the task of identifying the bodies. As the bodies were removed from the crash scene, they were placed in body bags and numbered. Any separated body parts and personal articles in close proximity to a particular body were bagged with that body. The bodies were removed from the site and brought to a temporary field morgue. From the temporary morgue, bodies were transported to the autopsy room as requested by the identification team and then returned to the morgue after the autopsy procedures were completed. The primary autopsy team consisted of seven members: a forensic pathologist, a pathologist assistant, two fingerprint officers, two property identification officers who preserved the personal effects, and a team leader who logged all information into a database. Assisting the primary team was a four-person dental x-ray unit. Identification procedures included fingerprints and footprints, an examination of personal effects and clothing, a listing of identifying marks on the body, and dental x-rays. Throughout the process, a liaison officer worked with the families to obtain information, such as clothing, jewelry, and physical descriptions. As information was obtained, it was brought to the team leader and checked against the data in the computer and the status chart. After completion of the autopsy and after each body was positively identified, a hard copy of the data information form from the computer was printed.
Main Term(s): Police emergency procedures
Index Term(s): Criminology; Death investigations; Victim identification
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